• Matt Beaney

#440 (17/9/21) - DON’T EMPTY THE CROSS (1 COR. 1:17)



This week our devotions are based on 1 Corinthians 1:10-17.

'For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.' (1 Corinthians 1:17)

We can be tempted to try to help God out by borrowing wisdom from our worldly culture. Perhaps better style, a friendlier message, better looking people, emotional music… will help to make this gospel more powerful! The reality is that when we use worldly means and add worldly wisdom to the gospel, we rob it of the Holy Spirit’s power because the Holy Spirit will not align Himself with any message that robs Jesus of His due honour.


THE POWER OF THE CROSS

Why does the gospel have power? It has power because it’s God’s wisdom to save. Jesus’ death for sin is our only means of salvation. We must do all that we can not to add to this message. For example, if we purposefully use young, beautiful people to present the gospel message, we are trusting in worldly sales methods rather than the Holy Spirit. This approach can attract people because of the false promise of a glamorous life rather than a life of sacrificial obedience to Christ. You may be young, you may be beautiful, God can work through you but our hope is not in you!


GREAT LEADERS RELY ON TRUE POWER

Paul is going to elaborate on the ideas of verse 17 in the next section that we will look at next week. Here, at this point in the text, Paul is making the point that we must not divide over leaders on the basis of ‘wisdom and eloquence’. A great leader relies on the true power of God. A great leader loves the simple gospel. A great leader depends on the Holy Spirit rather than worldly gimmicks and fashions.


Do you love the simple gospel? Do you learn more from YouTube ‘gurus’ rather than God’s wisdom? I’m often bothered by the lack of devotion to God’s truth that many Christians have and this is reflected in our lack of passion and power. Do you and I love and share a Holy Spirit pleasing gospel?


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued in our series in 1 Corinthians. The title of the message was, 'OUR UNITY REFLECTS JEUS'. Overcoming worldly disunity by an application of the gospel is a big theme in this letter.


Please read 1 Corinthians 1:10-17.


1. AN APPEAL OVER A COMMON PROBLEM.

Broken relationships were common in Corinthian culture. Christians are called to reflect the character of Jesus and His Kingdom rather than their broken culture. Therefore, unity must be eagerly pursued, and the skill of overcoming relational landmines must be learnt.


2. AN APPEAL TO FAMILY

Paul addresses the church his family. He appeals to them as ‘brothers and sisters’. Family is something that we stick with. We don’t treat church membership and unity lightly.


3. AN APPEAL IN JESUS' NAME

Paul appeals for unity ‘in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’. Paul is speaking on behalf of Jesus and he knows that it’s Jesus’ will that they pursue loving unity.

Let’s also remember that the church represents ‘the name of Jesus’ and so our relationships in the church reflect on His character for good or bad!


4. UNITED THROUGH HEALTHY THINKING

Harmony is maintained through healthy thinking. We are urged to ‘agree with one another in what you say’. This unifying speech flows out of being ‘perfectly united in mind and thought’. Bad - culture-inspired - thinking leads to poor speech and disunity. Good - Jesus-centred - thinking leads to healthy speech and harmony.


5. HARMONY THROUGH HEALTHY DIVERSITY

Paul speaks of their dividing and quarrelling about leaders. Each leader has a different background, different gifts and a different history with the church that was creating an unhealthy celebrity culture.

However, we are to understand that harmony and strength are created by the variety of gifts in the body of Christ and her leaders.


6. OUR UNITY REFLECTS JESUS

The church is to be like an orchestra. The beauty of the music is in the variety of instruments. Jesus in our conductor. He's the composer. May our music reflect Him to this world that needs Him.


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you, or what do you plan to do in response to Sunday's message?

2. Do you have any questions about this text?

3. v.10 - How does unity in mind and thought help to maintain unity?

3. v.11 - Have you ever experienced division over leaders in a local church? (Please be careful not to spread gossip with this question).

4. v.13- Why does division in the church cause Paul to ask 'Is Christ divided?'

5. v.14 - The title of Sunday's message was 'Our Unity Reflects Jesus'. What do disunity and unity reflect about Jesus?

5. SIV

Finally, it would be helpful to talk and pray about how we are doing in regard to Serve, Invest and Invite. Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard? How do you want to pray in regard to our mission?


Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in you diary.







27 views0 comments